Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunscreen every day, all the time? Yeah, I don't think so.

Recently I had to take my 11 year old daughter to the doctor for an immunization she needed. I haven't really had a family doctor in years, so we had to find a new one. I called my doctor for a recommendation. (She is an Internal Medicine Doctor, so she doesn't take young patients.) Her office is associated with another family practice office nearby, so that is where we decided to go. As a new patient, I had to fill out a book's worth of paperwork. That consisted of the normal information like insurance company, medical history, etc. The thing that I found interesting was in the medical history form. There was a section that dealt with habits and practices in every day life. For example, “Do you wear a seat belt?” and “Do you wear a helmet when riding a bicycle?” I can see how that would be information a doctor would want to know, so they can properly educate people about how important it is to use safety items such as that to protect themselves from potential injury. But there was another question on the form that irritated me. “Do you use sunscreen most of the time?” MOST OF THE TIME? Why would anyone NEED to use it MOST of the time? It blocks your skin from absorbing sunshine which is how the body produces Vitamin D. Sunscreen should be used when there is a risk of overexposure to the sun causing sunburn. It shouldn't be used more often than that. I very proudly checked the “NO” box next to the question. So when the extremely pale doctor came in to the examination room, I fully expected to be questioned on that answer. She did not bring it up, which I admit, I was disappointed about. I was all ready to strike down her claims about how the sun is evil. But it was not to be. It got me thinking though, about how that message of “wear sunscreen all the time, no matter what, even if you are not going to be in the sun at all” gets drilled into people. That message is wrong. First of all, you don't need sunblock for incidental exposure to the sun. Sunshine is natural, and an essential part of life; we need it. Secondly, WHAT are those chemicals we are slathering on our skin doing to us? Our skin absorbs that stuff and it blocks the one thing we NEED our skin to absorb. How can that be healthy? No wonder there is an epidemic of Vitamin D Deficiency now. We are told over and over again to use this stuff all the time. Sunshine and Vitamin D don't have a chance against the ad campaigns of sunscreen products and healthcare professionals. So let's think about this. Would you take antibiotics, or give your child antibiotics every day no matter what? No, you would take that/ give that only when it is needed. The same rule should apply to sunscreen. Yet we are told DAILY that we should never leave the house without that chemical sunscreen “protecting” us. Sunscreen is a product that should be used when necessary. The breakdown here is that the industry that promotes sunscreen, says it is always necessary. That isn't true. It is only needed/ necessary when there is potential for sunburn. Don't believe the propaganda. Sunblock hurts just as much as sunburn, just in a different (and more difficult way to prove) way.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Do Not Judge A Tanner By Their Color

Not all tanners can be judged by their appearance. Most people I talk to are surprised that I tan. I am very fair and by looking at me you would never know. My profile picture was taken at the height of my tanning “experiment” I was tanning every other day from anywhere between 12 and 18 minutes. Not the stereotypical image of a tanner. I am naturally fair skinned, tanning has not changed that. I do have tan lines, but very faint ones. If you were to compare my pictures before I started tanning in February 2012 and my profile picture taken in May 2012, you would really have to look closely to notice the difference. I have heard comments like “but you don't look like the people on Jersey Shore” and “you don't look tan” Part of the reason I wanted to share my story publicly is due to those comments. I want to dispel the myth that people who tan all have leathery skin and look older than they are. Yes, there are those that fit that image, but that is a small percentage. Patricia Krentcil (aka the tanning mom) is an EXTREME example of a tanner, she is giving the process and the industry bad press (as if there weren't enough of that from misleading information already). I know people who have tanned for years and they don't look leathery or old. Moderation is the key; just as it is with anything. We have all seen those people that go to the gym that are freakishly muscular, there are those that go overboard with plastic surgery, tattoos, piercings, etc. Tanning is no different. But what is the percentage of those that go overboard? Think about it, generally, when people see someone with an unconventional amount of tattoos or piercings or muscles, they don't think that is typical, they realize is it an extreme example. Yet, they look at someone with an UN-natural dark tan and think that is a prime example of a tanner. See for yourself what my tanning progression looked like.

Before

After   
 I am wearing make up on my face in both of these pictures, but as you can see, my chest and arms do not have a big contrast in color.


This was taken in August of 2012 after a 5k walk with my sister in law. I am not wearing ANY make up in this one.


So I guess what I am trying to say is that I don't look like what people expect of a typical tanner. But I am a typical tanner. The image the general public thinks of when they hear “indoor tanning” needs to change. It needs to reflect the majority, not the extremes.

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Fake Bake" Really? I can't stay silent on this.

Here is another one that I am SURE will not post my reply so I'd like to share it here.

Actual Link: http://www.wcuquad.com/features/take-a-stand-and-don-t-tan-the-real-truth-about-a-fake-bake-1.292695


The Blog Post

Take a stand and don’t tan - The real truth about a “Fake Bake”

Special to The Quad
Published: Sunday, October 14, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 14, 2012 20:10
Two-time melanoma survivor Michel Hoard was lured into a tanning salon based on the false advertisement of a safe and healthy tan. The man at the front desk assured her there was no cause for concern since, as he explained, tanning beds contain mostly UVA rays which are better for you because they reduce your risk of skin cancer. This is one of many tricks salon companies play on their often vulnerable and perhaps uninformed customers. After four years of tanning, Hoard entered stage one melanoma.

It is true that most tanning beds emit 94 percent UVA rays and six percent UVB rays, but that does not make their effects any less harmful. The goal of tanning companies is to lure their customers into the false comfort of this “fake bake” practice. They assure their customers of their safety and that they are out of harm’s way while leading victims into the threshold of the institutionalized cancer-causing solarium. Of those diagnosed with melanoma, “the average age is 46,” explains Dr. Roger Ceilley, former president of the American Academy of Dermatology. He continues: “it’s the most common cancer in people aged 25 to 29, in women 30-35, it’s second only to breast cancer.”

While melanoma, like any form of cancer, can never be prevented 100 percent, simply avoiding certain behaviors can drastically reduce the risk. Yet according to The Melanoma Foundation, “melanoma rates are increasing faster than nearly all other cancers.” If I may, allow me to provide a useful life lesson in one short phrase: it is your present actions, the things you do now, that will determine your fate in future. Remember that bad burn from two summers ago when your short dip in the pool turned into a two hour long swim and you spent the rest of the trip looking like a lobster? Despite the fact that your memory of this experience might now be comedic, your skin does not have a sense of humor and you can bet it still remembers the burn. In fact, your skin remembers every burn you have ever had since day one. The damage is there and will remain there long after the visible indicators have faded away. But the tanning salon doesn’t burn right? It is a common misconception is that if your skin simply darkens, it somehow has not suffered any damage. Exposure to UV rays will lead to some sort of dermatological change, and it’s damaging no matter the color.

Despite the fact that bad sunbathing habits are still practiced today, the harmful effects are now better understood, and are more commonly acknowledged. Unfortunately however, tanning has become an iconic symbol of beauty, and its effects can be deadly if not practiced with caution. The modern world has commercialized this process, turning machines that increase one’s risk of cancer into money makers. The best choice that you can make is to recognize that this desired luminous glow is really just damaged skin. Tanning salons are known world-wide to be cancer causers. Don’t wait for the consequences to become evident in your own life before taking action. Stand up for your skin and protect it by staying away from tanning beds. You can have fake nails and dyed hair. But a fake bake? – get real.

Laura Wayne is a  third-year student majoring in English with minors in Spanish and business and technical writing.  She can be reached at LW738484@wcupa.edu.

My Response: 
 
Where do I start with this? There are MANY benefits to indoor tanning and you fail to understand them so let me try to enlighten you. While I sympathize with your example person, who was already a two time skin cancer survivor as you state. Could it be possible that this person is genetically prone to skin cancer just as some people are more likely to develop breast cancer or prostate cancer? That is absolutely a possibility that you decide to omit from your piece. I know people who have been tanning in salons for decades and they do NOT have skin cancer. They also have a higher vitamin D level than the majority of the population. Vitamin D is essential in preventing many diseases including cancer. Just some evidence listed in this article. http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/344866/The-sun-is-shining-and-it-will-help-you-beat-cancer

As for your comment here:
“Despite the fact that bad sunbathing habits are still practiced today, the harmful effects are now better understood, and are more commonly acknowledged. Unfortunately however, tanning has become an iconic symbol of beauty, and its effects can be deadly if not practiced with caution. “

Sunshine is the most effective and natural way for the body to produce Vitamin D. Tanning salons understand this and make sure you are tanning safely by regulating the time you are in a tanning bed based on your skin type and the type of bed you are using. They have limits on how long you are in there and how often you go.

“The best choice that you can make is to recognize that this desired luminous glow is really just damaged skin”

Not true. Tan skin is the body's natural defense against burning. Burning should be avoided at all times which is why I went to a salon to bring my Vitamin D level up. It is a controlled environment that provides a safe dose of UVA and UVB. I avoided the sun at all times and found myself to be severely deficient in Vitamin D. I went from a 11ng/ml to a 75 ng/ml Vitamin D level in two months by going to a salon. I tanned very conservatively (starting out with just 2 minutes per session) to encourage melanin production in my body. Something I couldn't do by just going out into the sun because I was so sensitive to it due to my avoidance for so many years. I now maintain my above average Vitamin D level by going to a salon once every 7-10 days for 15 minutes. There are good reasons people use tanning beds that are not just to “look good” That stereotype needs to stop.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Comment Denied

I came across this blog post (below) last week and posted a comment. The comment was "awaiting moderator approval" and then.... bupkis, the moderator did not approve it.  Apparently my counterpoints didn't sit well with the writer. I decided my hard work in attempting a conversation showing the positive side of tanning shouldn't go to waste. So I figured I would share it here. It would be a shame for my points to go unseen, now they don't have to. This may be something I do more if I find I come across more moderators unwilling to share an opposing view. Not that I blame them, it is their blog to do what they want and decide what to post, just like this blog will, no doubt, receive views opposing mine. I would like to have a dialogue here as long as the comments do not aim to insult or become hostile and please don't derail the post.

actual blog link-  http://blog.healthcareerweb.com/blog/healthy-tan


Blog copied and pasted below:

Is There a Healthy Way to Tan?



Science has proven that UV exposure can lead to disfigurement, skin cancer, and even death. But the corporations that have a stake in this $4.9 billion industry are trying desperately to make everyone forget.
Much like Big Tobacco, the tanning industry is using techniques such as discounting the validity of the science behind skin cancer research, questioning the motives of dermatologists and oncologists, even taking aim at the American Cancer Society in order to cast aspersions on anyone critical of tanning beds.
And with more tanning salons in the United States than McDonald’s restaurants, it has never been easier for tanning bed manufacturers, trade publications, and salon chain operators to spread misinformation more quickly than ever.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are an average of 42 tanning salons in any given city. In comparison, the nationwide average for Starbucks caf├ęs is 19 and there are an average of 30 McDonald’s in each city in America.
To further its propaganda campaign, the tanning industry has also released a training program called “D-Angel Empowerment Training” that incorporates talking points and a video. Employees are encouraged to use this “information” outside the salon to argue in favor of tanning by claiming it is a good source of vitamin D, and thus “a bulwark against all manner of illness, including breast cancer, heart disease and autism.”
In addition to playing defense with its public image, the tanning industry has also copied some famously successful plays that Big Tobacco has made to undermine scientific research and fund advocacy groups serving the industry’s interests. Proponents of tanning have dubbed its critics the “Sun Scare Industry” and frequently refer to them as such in a disparaging manner.
While accusing the skincare and health experts of benefiting financially from the sale of sunscreens, the tanning industry also blames this group for a supposed “deadly epidemic of vitamin D deficiency.” (Nevermind that you can also get vitamin D from foods and nutritional supplements — more easily and safely than roasting under megawatt tanning bulbs.)
However, studies are now showing that those who eschew the harmful UV rays of a tanning bed might not actually be much better off if they elect a spray-tan option either.
A new study has found a chemical in spray tan that could possibly alter and damage DNA, according to an investigation by ABC News. Ten recent studies on the chemical, called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, were reviewed by medical experts, however, the studies were only on cells in a lab and not in humans.
“These compounds in some cells could actually promote the development of cancers or malignancies,” Dr. Rey Panettieri, who is a lung specialist and toxicologist at the University of Pennsylvania, told ABC News. “And if that’s the case then we need to be wary of them.”
MyHealthNewsDaily reported that DHA is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for outside use only, meaning it shouldn’t be eaten, inhaled, put on the lips or used near the eyes. However, some tanning booths use spray tan that contains DHA, which has the potential to be inhaled if people aren’t given the right protective gear, ABC News reported.

MY RESPONSE:

 
I read this because of the headline. I thought this would be something showing that tanning isn't horrible death sentence of melanoma and disfigurement. That perhaps it would be unbiased and tell both sides of the story. You disappointed me and misinformed your readers. There IS a healthy way of tanning, and I have experienced it myself. If I didn't have the experience I had, I would run screaming to the underground world and only come outside at night after reading this.

I have a few issues with your claims and misleading information. Let's just start with your “comparison” of tanning salons and McDonald's.

~And with more tanning salons in the United States than McDonald’s restaurants, it has never been easier for tanning bed manufacturers, trade publications, and salon chain operators to spread misinformation more quickly than ever.~

You are comparing ONE fast food brand with the ENTIRE tanning industry in a city. How about you compare fairly? Tanning salons vs. Fast food. Not just McDonald's, include Burger King, Wendy's, In and Out Burger etc. I think you will find that tanning salons are not as prominent as you would like to lead your readers to believe. Come on, compare apples to apples.


~While accusing the skincare and health experts of benefiting financially from the sale of sunscreens, the tanning industry also blames this group for a supposed “deadly epidemic of vitamin D deficiency.” (Nevermind that you can also get vitamin D from foods and nutritional supplements — more easily and safely than roasting under megawatt tanning bulbs.) ~

2 things stand out to me here.
  1. Vitamin D deficiency is a very real problem and should not be taken so lightly. The vitamin D you can get from foods is very low compared to how much is needed. Take it from someone that had a dangerously low vitamin D level of 11ng/ml. My doctor prescribed 50k IU per week to address my deficiency. That's what doctors do... prescribe pills. Well, I couldn't take my pill at the same time as another daily pill I have to take for my thyroid, so I would consistently forget to take the vitamin D. I started doing research on Vitamin D and found I could get it from nature (sunlight). No wonder I was deficient. I am fair skinned and could not be in the sun for more than 10 minutes without burning. What to do? More research. I decided to try a more controlled environment, tanning salons. I started out VERY conservatively at the advice of the trained salon technician who gave me a survey type test to determine my skin type (I learned I am a fair skin type 2, had I been a skin type 1 I would have been turned away) I tanned for 2 minutes every other day. Working closely with the staff at the salon, I slowly brought up my time in 1 minute increments. I was able to develop a base tan (they exist and are the body’s natural defense against burns as it turns out) more importantly, I brought up my vitamin D level to a 75 ng/ml in just a few months. Let me highlight that particular point. I went from an 11ng/ml level to a 75 ng/ml in just a few months. The key here is to control the UV rays to avoid burning, that is what tanning salons do. I am now able to spend time in the sun with my kids without burning thanks to my tan.

  1. “Roasting under a megawatt tanning bulbs” is a completely false and misleading comment. Trying to scare your readers into believing that tanning bulbs somehow cook you is very irresponsible. Try cooking something, ANYTHING in a tanning bed. It won't happen. Do your research.

~To further its propaganda campaign, the tanning industry has also released a training program called “D-Angel Empowerment Training” that incorporates talking points and a video. Employees are encouraged to use this “information” outside the salon to argue in favor of tanning by claiming it is a good source of vitamin D, and thus “a bulwark against all manner of illness, including breast cancer, heart disease and autism.” ~

Vitamin D is essential in fighting disease. More and more studies are showing a link between diseases and Vitamin D deficiency. Here is just one example. http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Nutrition/Vitamins/vitamin_d_breast_colon_lung_cancer_0828120653.html


~However, studies are now showing that those who eschew the harmful UV rays of a tanning bed might not actually be much better off if they elect a spray-tan option either.~

You forgot to include in this piece to point out the harmful effects of chemical sunscreens. Something the cosmetic industry wants the public to use EVERYDAY no matter what. What is this stuff doing to our system? Show the whole picture. Here is just one article on how the mentality of sunscreen everyday no matter what is dangerous. http://www.ewg.org/analysis/toxicsunscreen


Monday, October 8, 2012

Introduction

I've been seeing so many stories lately about how bad indoor sunbeds are for you. I disagree. I think people need to consider the benefits that can come from indoor tanning. For many people, the benefits of moderate indoor tanning outweighs the minimal risks. I am proof of tanning gone right, so I've decided to share my story.

In February of 2011 I had my annual medical check up. While discussing my health with my doctor, she asked if I had any idea what my vitamin D level was, and mentioned that there were many studies showing that vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk to many different health problems. I told her I had no idea what my level would be, so since I was having a blood test for my thyroid, we included testing my vitamin D level while we were at it. My results came back a few weeks later; I was at 11 ng/ml. Dangerously low. My doctor stated that vitamin D can be boosted by being in the sun, but “I don't think anyone should be in the sun ever” (this raised a red flag for me, the sun is an essential part of life, how can a doctor say no sun EVER?). So she prescribed a supplement. That's what doctors do, prescribe pills. She wanted me to take 50,000 IU per week. I had a once a week pill that I had to take. However, the problem was I couldn't take it at the same time as my thyroid medication. I'm not the type of person who remembers to take pills. I forget to take it, or I take it and I forget that I took it, or I forget to take it and I think I did. I can't keep track. I am terrible with pills. The only reason I remember my thyroid medication is because it is on my nightstand and it is the first thing I see in the morning, and it happens to be the first thing I have to do every morning. Then I have to wait for an hour before eating, and 4 hours before taking any other medication or supplement. So vitamin D was very easy to forget to take. I tried for months and forgot it more often than I remembered. I switched to lower dosage pills so as to take it every day instead of once a week thinking that would help -- it didn't. I'm hopeless with that sort of thing. I kept going back to what my doctor said...something about the sun... so I started doing some research. I can get vitamin D naturally from sunshine. Well, no wonder I was deficient. I am very fair and have always struggled with sunburns. I couldn't be outdoors for more than 10-15 minutes without burning. I had a terrible burn in my late teens where I had blisters and my face was swollen so much I couldn't open my eyes. After that burn I was even more sensitive to the sun. So for years I stayed indoors, sought out shade or wore hats to protect myself. Because I was always careful to avoid the sun, my vitamin D level was so low I had to take supplements to make up for it. That didn't seem right. I did more research and found that indoor tanning could be a viable option for me.

Late February 2012 I went to a nearby tanning salon. I spoke with Katherine and she gave me a questionnaire to fill out. The result of the questionnaire was that I was a skin type 2, but a very fair skin type 2 (had I been a skin type 1, I would have been turned away. Skin type 1 would mean I would burn and they couldn't help me). We decided to take the most conservative approach to tanning. I really wasn't looking for color -- my goal was to improve my vitamin D level. I tanned for 2 minutes every other day. After a week or so I increased my time by a minute. I wasn't burning. I continued to increase my time by a minute, sometimes two, each week. I was noticing a little color in my skin after a few weeks. After about a month and a half of tanning, I participated in a 5k walk at a local park. I walked in the sunshine for an hour without burning. I had developed a base tan that protected me from sunburn better than anything else I had ever tried. I felt a freedom that I never thought possible.

I had another doctor appointment in April of 2012 and my vitamin D level results were a dramatic 75 ng/ml! I had successfully brought up my level from dangerously low to well above average. I did not take supplements regularly before starting to tan, and I took no supplements once I did start tanning. I continued to tan every other day with increased times through mid May ending at 18 minutes every 3 days. I then shifted to a more maintenance type of schedule of 15 minutes once a week, which I currently stick to for the most part. There are times when I get a bit busy and can tan once every 10 days or 2 weeks, When I have a gap like that, I bring my time down to 12 minutes. All of this at the recommendation of the knowledgeable staff at the salon I go to.

By doing this “experiment” (for lack of a better word) I have found that I can do things outdoors that I could have never done before. I have enjoyed time by the pool with my family and neighbors this summer during the day for the first time. Years past I had to wait until night to gather with friends for fear that I wouldn't be able to find a spot in the shade or under an umbrella during the day. I have done at least one 5k walk per month for the last 5 months without burning. I can go to the park with my kids -- I can do things without fear of burning. So when I see stories about how tanning causes cancer and it is something only vain shallow people would seek out, I get angry that stories like mine are not out there for people to see. There is too much of a stigma around tanning beds and most of it is from exaggerated or even false information put out there. If done properly, tanning can be very beneficial for people like me.